Artesano is born between the mountains of Jayuya and will reach the local market in May, with a one-year barrel aged white rum and an aged blend. It is made by Puerto Rican hands and made with innovative techniques. Its formula was in charge of the renowned rum master and international consultant Javier Herrera.
“What makes us different from other products on the market is the distillation process, since the best-known rums in Puerto Rico are produced in distillation columns and for Artesano we use an alembic. A method that is mostly used to distill bourbon whiskey. This distillation system allows the liquid to reach a much wider and more complex range of flavors ”, he explained to THE SPOKESMAN José Muñoz González, Business and Development Manager of the project, whose financing was provided through the Wefunder platform.
“Many distilleries in the world produce a variant of the liquid they make and try to age it in different barrels or add sugar, among other things. We have been more purist in that sense and we decided not to follow these strategies. We wanted to give each product its own personality, using different yeasts and processes. In fact, we use the alembic to be able to refine the qualities we want in each rum, ”added Luis Cruz Rivera, partner of Artesano and director of operations of the Craft Spirits Distillery, which produces and bottles Artesano.
Regarding the characteristics present in the rums -which will sport an elegant label made in tin and painted and numbered by hand-, the engineer also explained that “both are made looking at a European style, with slightly drier characteristics. We are also focused on highlighting the notes of each of the rums ”, he highlighted.
White rum, for example, was described as scented with fruity and pleasant notes that stand out on the palate. “From the outset, the nose is not filled with a hit of alcohol, but we try to make it scented. The year of aging, although it did not give it color or did an aggressive job, it gave it interesting notes of vanilla, ”said Cruz. He clarified that this is not a rum that is made to mix, but to drink alone or on the rocks.
While the vintage is subtle and not as fragrant as the white, but with notes of grapes and flowers. “On the palate, these notes produce an interesting, long and elegant effect. “It is a bit drier than usual in the market, but it is part of the elegance that separates it from other products,” said Cruz.
BEHIND THE CONCEPTION
Until two years ago, Muñoz and Cruz were two strangers. However, his passion for rum and experience in the field of alcoholic beverages conspired to his business union.
Muñoz worked for several years in the local alcoholic beverages industry managing the rum category, with which he understood the complexity of the business and took “a great love” for this distilled spirit. “This helped me to identify a number of opportunities in the market and I decided to undertake in this line”, contributed the main partner and project manager, who for six years dedicated himself to defining the brand, the design of the bottle, type of liquid and what would be the strategy to communicate it.
Along the way, he met his now partner through his nephew. “He (Cruz) was working on the distillery project that he acquired as a family business in 2016 and I shared my vision of Artesano with him. Luis, in turn, shared the plans with the factory. There we realized that the pieces meshed perfectly. I had experience in the commercial side of the industry and advertising, while he had knowledge in the area of manufacturing and processing, ”said Muñoz.
In a similar way, there was collaboration with the rum master of Spanish origin, Javier Herrera, who is in charge of making magic with Artesano and other products from the distillery.
“I met Javier during a visit to the Island and we developed a long-distance friendship. I expressed my interest in working with rum and he also let me know his interest in developing a project in Puerto Rico. We decided to collaborate and the commitment was that he would be in charge of developing the Artesano formula and I would be in charge of marketing the brand. And, in the case of the other brands that the distillery has, it is the person who is in charge of designing the concept, the process and the final liquid ”, described Muñoz.
READY TO DISTRIBUTE
To get the project started, the duo of entrepreneurs started a ‘crowdfunding’ campaign where they managed to raise $ 220,000 – through about 300 investors – last December.
“The participants invested from $ 100 to thousands of dollars in the project. 80% of them Puerto Ricans -residents on the island or from the diaspora-, who apparently were eager to have new brands of rums on the market. It has been a very positive endorsement ”, they expressed.
The first bottles of Artesano were bottled on March 9, with approximately 45% alcohol by volume. The plans are to distribute the product nationwide both to high-end cocktail bars and restaurants, as well as supermarkets. Also, there are intentions to bring Artesano and other brands produced by Craft Spirits Distillery in Jayuya, to different parts of the world, including distribution in the markets of Germany, Canada, the United States, Brazil and the Caribbean. who have shown interest in the brand.